NewsRoundup

The Roundup will be brought to you in July and August by the new Work and Family Researchers Network (WFRN), an international membership organization for interdisciplinary work and family academics. The WFRN welcomes the participation of policy makers and practitioners as it seeks to promote knowledge and understanding of work and family issues among the community of global stakeholders. The Roundup is a compilation of the latest news articles, reports and other materials related to workplace flexibility delivered to your inbox on Monday and Thursday. In the fall, the WFRN will launch its new website which will include a News Feed among other features. We hope that you will get involved as a member and by posting the latest news. Questions?

March 1, 2011

Articles

Women happier than men

• Stockton Record • March 28, 2011

“CareerBliss of Irvine said its study of more than 200,000 company reviews ‘reveals that overall, women outrank men in all factors of career happiness, specifically in areas concerning work-life balance, flexibility with their work schedule, career advancement and job security.’  The company said it analyzed more than 1.6 million data points during more than a year of research to determine satisfaction based on eight categories: growth opportunities, compensation, benefits, work-life balance, career advancement, senior management, job security and whether the employee would recommend the company to others.”

Strides by Women, Still a Wage Gap

Conor Dougherty • Wall Street Journal • March 1, 2011

“Women are gaining ground educationally and economically, but men still make more money on average and women are more likely to live in poverty, according to a White House report expected to be released Tuesday. […]The report depicts a sea change in women’s roles over the past few decades, away from child-rearing and housekeeping to serving as a pillar of family finances and America’s economy. Still, single-mother households are more common than those with single fathers, a big reason why women are more likely than men to be poor, despite higher unemployment among men. And women continue to lag behind men in science and math-oriented occupations, as well as in earnings.”

Your Incredible Shrinking Paycheck

Rana Foroohar • Time • February 28, 2011

“Labor Department figures show that from 2007 to 2009, more than half the full-time workers who lost jobs and then found new work took pay cuts. A depressing 36% had to take positions paying 20% less than the ones they lost.
The drop in wages occurs in part because unemployment rose so sharply and widely after the crisis and has remained higher for longer than in past recessions. Both factors have led to a disconnect between labor supply and demand that makes it tough for workers to negotiate better deals. Forget about driving a hard bargain with a new boss. Most of us feel lucky just to have bosses, and we work as hard as we can to keep them happy — as the productivity figures emphatically show.”

State employment-population ratio declines, 2010

• Bureau of Labor Statistics - The Editor's Desk • February 28, 2011

“In 2010, 32 states and the District of Columbia registered statistically significant deterioration in their employment-population ratios—the proportion of the civilian noninstitutional population 16 years of age and over with a job.”

Calling in sick is getting easier

Stephen T. Watson • Buffalo News • February 26, 2011

“A growing list of employers are allowing workers to send an e-mail, log into a website or call into an automated voice-messaging system when they want to take a sick day. […]Further, some companies and governments are offering incentives to workers who don’t use all of their paid sick time. Erie County, for example, pays a $500 bonus to non-union workers who don’t use more than one sick day in a year.  And some companies and institutions are bundling all of their workers’ paid time off—vacation days, personal days and sick days—into one pot. Employees can take these days when they want, with certain limits, ending the need to call in sick and taking the boss out of a sick-day policing role.”

Blogs

Why the Recession May Trigger More Depression Among Men

Alice Park • Time - Healthland • March 1, 2011

“About 75% of the jobs lost in the downturn belonged to men. Innovations in technology, as well as outsourcing to countries where manual labor is less expensive, are shrinking this sector, forcing more men than women out of work. With men culturally shouldering the role of primary breadwinner for their families, unemployment hits men particularly hard, as their self-esteem, an important factor in depression risk, is often contingent on their role as provider.”

E-Ties That Bind

Edward L. Glaeser • New York Times - Economix • March 1, 2011

“Will electronic connections make cities obsolete? In the giddy early days of e-mail and the Internet, some prophets proclaimed that humans would no longer bother with the inconveniences of density and would instead retreat, in Alvin Toffler’s phrase, to ‘electronic cottages.’ […]In the language of economics, the core question is whether face-to-face interactions and electronic connections are substitutes or complements. If they are substitutes, we should expect cheaper, better e-contact to make personal meetings rarer; if they are complements, new technologies will strengthen the value of interpersonal contact – and of cities.”

“Earlier today, First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden spoke to the meeting of the National Governors’ Association here at the White House about an issue important to both: military families. Over the past two years, Mrs. Obama and Dr. Biden have traveled around the country and around the world, visiting with service members and their families, hearing their stories firsthand. Today, they called on America’s Governors and all Americans to join their effort.”

Approaching Retirement Age and Still Doing the Work-Life Juggle?

Rex Flexibility • Huffington Post • February 26, 2011

“The traditional, rigid structure of the workplace, where every employee works full-time, year-in and year-out, with few opportunities for time off or adjusted schedules, doesn’t work very well for anyone anymore. But it’s particularly problematic for seniors who have already been running this grueling work-life marathon for 40 or 50 years and are told that their only options are to stop altogether or keep going at the same pace. Companies need to provide new options that embrace the expertise and experience of our older employees and allow them to contribute to their workplaces while still living a balanced life.”

Two Different Realities About Workplace Flexibility

Ellen Galinsky • Huffington Post • February 25, 2011

“And that’s important because our findings in both reports echo this approach — flexibility is a business tool that can help employers and employees thrive.  This is especially important for the low-wage employees, wherever they work. Low-wage employees tend to be less satisfied with their jobs, more likely to plan to leave their employers, and in poorer physical and mental health than higher-wage employees. And that’s where flexibility comes in. Having greater access to flexibility on the job substantially reduces those differences between low-wage and higher wage employees.”

Global News

It’s babies, not discrimination, that’s holding back women in the workplace

Jemima Lewis • Telegraph, UK • February 26, 2011

“The working woman’s enemy is not some pinstriped, misogynistic boss, cackling evilly as he slams the boardroom door. Nor, in fact, is it men in general. There is plenty of evidence that British men want to be more involved in rearing their children. But our system of parental leave is so heavily skewed that both sexes have little choice but to succumb to an outdated status quo.”